tv Lectures in History CSPAN March 13, 2016 8:00am-8:51am EDT
the lecture today is going to examine the transition that confederate veterans will go through as they go from soldiers back to civilians. we'll look at the harpships that they face. what sort of help they can get in adjusting to the newfound disabilities. finally how they thought to actually remember the war itself. the confederates who returned home dealing with the reality of defeat. it's not an reality. they were returning to tables that had empty chair around them and now will be permanently
empty because those men will not return back to their families. they're dealing with scenes like n large scale property destruction, destroyed by battlefield engagement or by the destruction of military installations, this particular image of richmond being destroyed, union army march and grant victoria.
another woman noted demoralization that we feel is now complete. we are whipped. veterans are returning home. they're going to face mixed reactions as they come off of trains or just walk back into their communities. they come off a horse. in some cities, saw veterans return home in communities rushed out to give them big hugs. he saw crowds gathered that seem to know why tempered by lack of us in the war. he noticed that men were dressed in their brave uniforms, missing legs and arms and they were getting little bit extra attention. he said the problem rein upon
that veteran brushes would show up his cheek. he had taken the most manly acourse in the world. as these veterans return home, they return back to that dining room table chair what had been empty for so long. some of them are soldiers one family member wrote. home from war with only wound and glory. there was a case of major john haskell. as confederate soldiers are walking bay on their way back to the community after the war comes to a conclusion, he turns around and showcases that empty sleeve waving in the breeze there from his coat jacket. all of the soldiers who marched by were impressed. they took off their hats and cheered and greeted him.
these cheers are short lived in many ways. particularly because this ora of defeat is hanging over the confederacy itself. sort of gives you that little bit of internal cloud of defeat. you're like, i really want to watch anymore. then you watch peyton manning look each worse in the philadelphia eagles and it makes you feel better about yourself. for these particular veterans where else is they going to go to find that little bit extra to feel better? for some veterans it was the fact they came home with injuries that they didn't need to show to people in their community. one veteran noted that he was excited he came home with a gunshot wound that was hidden in his chest and ehad to deal with a bullet there for the rest of his house. he was happy about it because
nobody could tell he had been wounded. clement moody noted when the con -- darkness and death, the transition now begins for veterans themselves. some come home with empty sleeves. some left both legs in the battlefield. some with eye balls with their way home in blindness and darkness. all came in patterns of rags to look upon the ashes. he was wasn't who pleaded that we needed to recognize these men who had been so physically damaged. you can imagine this is a strange transition. imagine living that life for three, four years of excitement and marching wearing on your
body, the constant fear that you may have going into battle. all of a sudden, it stopped immediately. it just ends. that whole process if you gotten used to, physically, emotionally and mentally is now gone. you come home with the memories of it. with the good memories of the war, with the negative memories of the war and possibly psychological or physical repercussion that the war itself had caused. for historians it's difficult. few reasons is because, civil war folks were very good writing everything down in letters and diary during the war. they chronicled every bad piece of thing they ate, every rain drop that fell. every moment they spend on guard duty. then they come home. we are last with only those who kept writing diary entries to
tell us what all of this means in the grand scope of things. other thing is that some confederates, we can go to files. look at the documents to get money which we'll talk about. those files are incomplete. they're also hidden from public view. some states actually still have medical fields on these documents because they contain private details, medical details about family members you don't want to go public. for the enter thes who came home psychologically disturbed some of them turned to alcohol abuse and drug abuse. we see them contemplate and commit suicide. bill hicks was without of the guys. he was described -- he lost battle of shiloh. he came home to a law practice
that seemed promising but wasn't great. everyday hicks thought into that leg he lost in the war. it preyed on him. according to one of his friends he had no choice but to blow out his brains because he didn't want to live the rest of his life as another veteran who severely beaten his child to take out some of his frustrations stood in front of the mirror and put a revolver to his temple and fired. he had businesses fail economically with debt and his life on a drug overdose. these are extreme responses. i think they give us some sense of level of depth and despair and veterans are facing. i don't think it's a coincidence that historians are looking at darker issues of the american civil war. particularly because of what our own service men and women are
facing now as they return home from iraq and afghanistan. those of you like to read about civil war will see quite a bit of literature on those who lost limbs and those who ended up in mental institutions or homeless or abused drugs or alcohol. because they didn't find ways to adjust back. it's very easy for historians when they write the narrative of american history to end the civil war chapter on apparatus. there's no continuing soldier. you can imagine if you came home with an injury like he's confederate veterans here that you see on the screen. the amount of chronic pain that you're going to have to deal with on a daily basis. southerners weren't supposed to complain. this was part of their southern mantra what makes them men. they're not supposed to tell
their friends how all of their injuries are. yet that pain is going to be a constant part of their life. wounds that go on from from time to time. a ringing in your ear that was caused by all of the artillery shells that exploded next to you during the war that never seem to subside. those constant headaches that blurred vision. even had the sensation that therapy limbs -- their limbs were still part of their body. i was able town cover two cases of this. one confederate veteran awoke crying in the hospital. i tried to rub it against the
other and my foot was not there. just this stump. it seems stage in terms of the hallucination was usually in fingers, toes, feet and hands. you would still feel those toes or that foot that maybe itching and trying to scratch it and it didn't exist. all of a sudden, you have this horrific realization that this limb is not coming back. another guy a guy in a hospital bed. he would quickly flip over on his body. a patient next to him ask why are you rolling so quickly in the night. he said he always had this crash on one side of his back. that arm wasn't there any longer. a constant reminder that he had to deal that he was going to be an amputee. these confederate veteran particularly those who are
disabled become living symbols of what that defeat meant. they're the constant reminder. them themselves and society at large who will look at them at a daily basis. you can imagine for southerners who have a notion of what manhood is and womanhood. how they're going to deal with these dilapidated bodies who also went off to war to prove themselves as true honorable men, but come home defeated. now have symbols of that defeat. southerners in some ways remain influx over how to deal with their veterans. in making georgia shortly after the civil war, the newspaper reported that one night a gentleman got drunk and passed out on the streets. two kids, ages 9 and 11 saw him on if the street picked up a rusty saw and sawed off his leg. actually what they did, it was
his prosthetic leg. his wooden leg. the newspaper pointed out that these children depicted and has been part of the great depriveties of the age. they had done this to this particular confederate veteran who had served in the war but then something that had gone against the construct how southerners were expected to behave in society. you should be able to control your liquor. you're not allowed to pass out drunk on the streets. some way this is children reminding this gentleman, this is not how a real southern men behave. at the same time, it is these chin--children not understanding that he was a veteran. he had given part of his body. for these who are coming home and distraught, they have to find some sort of economic opportunity to move forward. most veterans worked went off to
war doing manual labor jobs. they will come home and go back to do field or wives or other family members attended. if you're physically disabled, can you still keep doing that labor? there was a case in georgia a confederate veteran lost his leg. his wife would take him out to the plow and tie him to it. another worker who ended up in the tobacco warehouse can on the work a few hours a day because he can barely stand on the one leg. other educational opportunities would bring up a few southern states. virginia, georgia and mississippi would offer free classes for wounded veterans to allow you to get an education and even become a teacher. but not everyone is cut out for being educated.
james frazier is one of these men who lost a limb. he did not have a very enviable life. he came home and decided to take up teaching. he routinely lashed out the his students because they were always texting on their phone or playing candy crusher. maybe that's why he lashes out. but no, it was in reality that he could not bear to deal with in chronic pain that he constantly had and thinks reminder of failure. frazier met a woman and they got married, she shortly died and then he actually ends up in court because he was accused of beating her children. his now stepchildren. in many ways, he couldn't handle his new reality of dealing with failure in the aftermath of the american civil war. i think one of the best places may be if you're an amputee and looking for a potential job is to run for political office.
you can use that to garner sympathy. there are cases throughout the post war period of veterans running. missing arms missing legs. this is always noted in their campaign bios that you would see appearing in the newspapers. they would emphasize that over and over again. one of these guys is francis nichols who is a double amputee. because so much of them had been physically damaged some reporters question whether the constituents in louisiana should be willing to vote for a man in this physical condition to be govern -- governor of their state. nichols said, well, i guess they can vote whatever is left of me to hole the governorship of louisiana. which they would do twice. he served two terms. the -- a large number of veterans are not going to have
those political opportunities, educational opportunities able to transition back into manuel labor. they're going to have to beg for work and find signs everywhere that said no main confederate need to apply. man one arm cannot be expected to make as much as two. when that becomes your financial reality, when you cannot find a job, you end up begging on the streets for money. this is one particular confederate veteran who became a fixture on the capital steps in austin texas. every year legislatures would come into their offices to debate the bills for the legislature in the state of texas. he would be out front, as you can see selling pencils. hoping to elicit sympathy to legislatures who would buy the pencils and allow him to survive. he is missing a leg. he has that peg leg that's
attached for a place to hold. it's not going to be very comfortable. it's not one of these advanced prosthetic limbs. it's a strange irony this man is here on the steps begging legislature for money. in many ways, the legislatures have not done him service. texas was a state that did not give their veterans prosthetic limbs and waited decades to extend pension benefits. he was in that particular case this part of life because the legislatures have not done anything to assist him. to help him transition back into society. a doctor who saw this veteran on numerous occasions wrote this about him. poor old con fed, despised old rebel. they told your wound will be an honor and you're a hero. crude mockery bitter desings, your lifeblood shed and your youth wasted all in vain.
these group of beggars started popping up all over the streets in southern cities. the city of new orleans in particular decided to crack down on this large number of beggars in the streets of the french quarters because the wealthy members of new orleans society did not want to interact with these men on a daily basis. in 1883 the city of new orleans posted an event known as corralling of the cripple. city officials went to the street and wounded up wounded veterans and put them in the shakespeare arm house. they realized that many of them were confederate veteran who had no other option to survive in society other than to beg for money. city started to transition the law a little bit where they would say, no begging allowed on the streets unless you are a confederate veteran. that was the loophole. how can you prove you're a
confederate veteran. you show them your confederated i.d. card. they didn't have them. you show your uniform. what we find is cases of men who stole uniforms who bought uniforms who confederate men who had been injured and disabled and now putting on that uniform sitting on the street corner and pretending to be a confederate veteran. identity theft going on in the post war civil war period. why these men have to beg is because the 14th amendment that was added to the constitution, section 4 prohibits the united states government from paying any financial option that tied to those who participate in the rebellion against the united states. the 14th amendment bars confederate veterans from getting any limbs, prosthetic limbs that the union government
had been processing, it bars them from collecting a pension from the united states government which becomes huge in the post war period. 40% of the united states budget in the 1890's is only to pay pension for union veterans. the confederates themselves are left to the will of the state themselves. the first area that we see in terms of assistance for these men, particularly those who are disabled is in the form of giving them prosthetic limbs. as you can see not every southern state will actually participate. north carolina will be the first, georgia mississippi south carolina virginia, alabama and louisiana will come on board by 1880. now-in in order to get a prosthetic limb, you had to fill out an extensive application more this limb. where you have to give your details about who you are. you had to prove that first you lost your limb in the american civil war. it wasn't that you lost your
limb before or after it had to be direct result of your military participation. you had to prove that by having a doctor or you can find your surgeon from the war, lot of these guys came from the same communities. you can go find them and say can you be my eyewitness. and sign off thatty lost my limb. the second thing that you have to prove, that you left the war in a honorable state. what we mean by that, you didn't just run away. you didn't flee your post. you surrendered when you were forced to surrender when the union army made the confederate capitulate. you didn't run away and you didn't escape. you had to prove that you honorably left the war. for those who fled after their injuries or didn't have the proper paper work, would have a hard time getting a prosthetic limb. in order to figure out, how many limbs do you need? state government decide, we're going to do a prosthetic limb
program, they would send out census takers to go to communities all across the south and count how many amputees. so they can come back and give the state government a figure, financial figure they would know how much money they would need. limbs can be expensive particularly legs it can go from anywhere $75 to $150, prosthetic arms $50 to $75. we see the legs coming first because the mobility issue. some begin to write into their state government saying, wouldn't it be nice to have a prosthetic arm to create some more comfort whether emotionally or physically. they would be added later. how do you get your limb? you end up going to a major city, lot of times it was the state capitol where prosthetic limb manufactures had been set up. you would ride the train there.
you would go into the offices. they would measure your stump and they would craft a prosthetic limb on the spot for you and put it on and see how it fit and make sure it was comfortable for you and then send you on your way back home. it was a pretty big ordeal to participate and getting one of these prosthetic devices. in some ways when we think of prosthetic limbs we're thinking of peg legs. there are dozens of patents. we have the plymouth part went leg where you can see joints being created at the knee that allowed stability of an artificial knee joint. they're starting to do them in the ankle as well to create an artificial achilles. you will be able to have that much motion in your prosthetic leg. you can imagine if you seen pross they want i can device --
prosthetic devices available today that allow these men and women to move at rapid paces lot of that technology got started right here in the aftermath of the civil war. to the point where we can see in this before and after, it's really hard to tell this is what this guy looks like in real life. you put on his two prosthetic legs it fits perfectly. he can go off into society without any major difficulties. lots of veterans like their prosthetic legs a lot. some complained about them. one veteran said his wife can hear him coming. she knew where he was in the house because of the noise it made. if you trying to maybe hide from your wife, that's probably not the best course of action to move forward. if you didn't want the prosthetic limb, you can take a one time cash payment. imagine being that confederate veteran who lost a leg or an arm
and you're left with that choice. do i want this for my mobility and comfort and help me in my job prospect. so people don't look at me funny. or would you take the cash payment to help your family immediately or at least for the next few months. this becomes one of these great debates that many internally have to deal with. governors in some states, we saw that there were only seven southern states. than leaves the rest of the bunch who was not interested in supporting confederate disability. one governor in arkansas said, honoring the enemies of the united states by coniferring war for them, services were rendered by fighting against the government, is certainly not supporting the constitution of the united states or the constitution of the state acting in harmony. states actively debating should we actually give prosthetic limbs to men who were traitors.
there's a second mode of assistance that is the construction of veterans homes. that will appear both north and south. the texas veteran home was in austin. andrew jackson home was turned into a veteran home for a period of time. if you're in new orleans on the east side of the french quarter there was the big home in new orleans for confederate veterans.
kentucky home was in the pee wee valley in beautiful area outside of louisville that gave veterans great place to replace and live a life with some medical ease if you will. there was some debate about these homes if the state should support them and what kind of men will be allowed in one of these homes. you had to fill out the paper work, talk about your injury came from the war itself and again that honorable departure from the war itself. some of these homes even had a debate about some men who asked if their wife will be allowed to come along and live with them in the home. these are the questions that many ways gummed you have the assistance that the veterans needed to transition back to life. land grant became the third area of assistance but limited. only two states take on large spots of land that veterans is
eligible to take. the first was louisiana, which provided 160 angers 160 acres of land. texas offered 1280-acre land plots to injured or disabled veteran who can prove they could not support their family. it's not just the normal process that i got injured, i was a good soldier and honorable discharged. you had to prove that you were economically not in a position where you needed that spot of land to survive. imagine being an amputee or a severely injured man who's now going to get 1280 acres in west texas. lot of these were designed to move settlement population. lot of the population was concentrated in one particular region. this is to move people to central texas to get them out of the coastal area in some of the community where is they had been settled. would you want 1280 acres of
land? what will you do with that spot of land? if you're by yourself or kids interested in helping to you farm. it's difficult to turn that spot of land into something sustainable. we'll see dozens of people to fill out these application and get these land grants. they are not as effective as prosthetic limbs programs or going to a veterans home. but the big area is the pension application. the payment of cash offered four times a year orderly payments for the rest of your life. just because you had served in the military. again, the same sort of process where each state will create a pension program and then confederate veteran has to fill out the application, talk about their honorable military service, the nature and condition of their injuries. lot of times you had to be
specific. you had to relive your injuries. i was at that particular battle and i got shot in the right leg and this doctor had to cut it off. you had to prove it in detail as possible with your eyewitnesses there on board to say, yes, he got injured in the war, he is an honorable man. he deserves to have this pension for the rest of his life. you also had to prove that pensions were part of an economic discussion. how to prove that you didn't have enough property but you had a low amount of money that you had no means of survival so you can now become a ward of the state. for southerners you being dependent on state government for assistance was considered the absolute opposite what every southern man supposed to be. as men, southern men, you are the breadwinner of the family.
you take care of your wife and children to be an honorable gentlemen. now you have to rely on the state government and beg them for money. they had to make sure these men were at least being as honorable as possible in order to collect this money. these debates are pretty ferocious in the state legislature and particularly when you have governors or legislators who don't believe confederate veterans should get anything. governor of florida called it evil because of the traitors involved. tennessee would do nothing until 1883 and they're first pension program were only for people who were blinded by the civil war. you had to lose both of your eyes. but two eyes is where their pension programs begin. arkansas didn't do anything until 1891 texas 1899.
kentucky was the last southern state to send confederates off to war and they did theirs in 1912. we're talking 50 years after the civil war. i'm not a math major, those watching at home would have to count. those are decades after these men had come home where they spent years without any financial assistance or at least recognition from the state government that they had gone through such difficulty. you have a question? >> not really a question more like an observation. where it seems that a lot of those state governments, i can get how, yeah you went to war and you lost a limb. that's honorable. the whole pension thing is probably due to how i was raised. it's a lot more honorable to admit that you need help. instead it's a dishonor, oh wow
you need help. it's such an honor to your family and yourself. i find them more has been rabble to admit that you do do need help. you are admitting that you need help. you're the bigger man. >> right. in particular, the process that you have to go through not just to admit it yourself and put it on paper, you have to get those eyewitnesses to say the same sorts of things here to solidify that. question? >> so, the people than are in the state houses in the south didn't fight in the war. they're thinking these veterans are not worthy. who are they? are they northern implants? >> what will help these debates is when you have those who were amputated or injured veteran who get into state office. one of the reasons kentucky's
pension program gets passed passed in in 1912 who has a confederate veteran elected governor. you have some republican who are being elected to state legislatures as they go through this republican state house, where they're not interested in extending confederate aid. it will take years after the democratic legislatures come back into office. then you have texas where democrats have been in power but then there's questions of fraud. what if people pretend to be confederate soldiers and forge those documents that we saw in the previous screen? should the state government be willing to give that much money out for the potential of fraud? then you have others wondering is it constitutional for our state to even give money to
confederate veterans? if you're a strict constructionist, can you do something here in georgia which determine the amount of money you'll be paid here based on your injuries? both eyes are worth $150 a year or $30 for one eye. your hearing loss, 30 and entire leg or $400. double amputees will get $150 and various combinations. the legislature made sure that all bases were covered. you have a limb that doesn't work that's functionally there that will be worth $50. every finger or toe, $5. any other injury, this is the umbrella category, were worth $50. you had to provide the documentation. you had to prove it and then the state pension board who was reviewing these documents then had to give you clearance.
>> was it just physical ailments that he got pensions for? or was is psychological? >> no. there was no diagnosis of that. later you will see confederate veterans apply for pension because they said their experience in war created this disability. they marched and marched and feet hurt during the war. the war created nagging physical condition. it was only physical nothing emotional. even though we had signs of distress, there was no financial reward or no councilling available. this is some dark stuff. this is clearly people suffering. it doesn't match in many ways our societial perception of the south post civil war. particularly if you drive around the south today you see very
different images of southern veterans from the war themselves. when i was a kid we drove around these battlefields and we went to places. every southern town that we went into to go and arby's, we would drive by a confederate monument. we would go to -- these are southern men looking very strong and proud. you have no sense of suffering coming from these monuments themselves that are scattered all over the southern landscape. this is one of my favorite monuments that has been construct on any battlefield. this one is at shiloh. it's sort of the lost cause monument of what happened at the battle of shiloh. this is sort of the southern --
interpretation. you can see the focus of the monument, which is pretty long length wise is the center figure itself. in the middle we have the embodiment of defeat. she is in the middle there and she is stand opponent sides by darkness on one side and death. death is on the right with his head there, darkness is looking like a jedi. sort of covered like star wars in theaters in less than a month. this is a star wars monument. talk about lost causes. anyway, she is handing the wreath from darkness to defeat and because in many ways, when battle of shiloh ends and he has been killed, his image is right below the monument when he turns over command, they're
going to win a major victory here and the next morning, as night rises from the darkness, grant's armies and the reinforcement would come in and sweep the confederates off the field. confederate soldiers are embodied on both sides of the monument themselves representing the southern soldiers who participated in the battle. what's interesting is there's leather on one side showing the amount of casualties that have been inflicted by the battle. we have embodiment of soldiers on both sides. we have and infantryman holding the confederate flag. on the right side we have the head bowed of one particular officer in submission because he wasn't able to secure the battle of the confederacy. and a man who looked very frustrated because he had been involved in the war. these monuments these
embodiments of confederate soldiers become the main focal point for southerners in the post war period. they're not as interested in particular granting immediate medical support and care for their veterans. when he turned 12 he had this moment of horror that made him cry. his grandfather had painted this grand narrative of the confederates winning battle after battle and ended the war.
. when i got to the point in our history book, gettiesburg. this discovery made me depressed for days. his piece the lost cause knew southern history. this becomes sort of the dominant intellectual narrative that will drive southerners and the remembrance of the american civil war. they're going to do this by writing text books about the civil war. when you get to that chapter on the civil war, you're going to read those sorts of things about the american civil war, not what
you will be reading in northern text books during the war. you would also see this embodied in monumenteds. like we saw at shiloh. shiloh according to that monument, because albert sydney johnson died and it got dark. that was the reason. it was those elements itself. you will go to the battle to see that and be able to understand that particular interpretation. slavery is not the cause of the american civil war. african-americans were faithful slaves. they supported the confederate cause. they were not prepared for freedom. they may not even wanted to be free individuals. embodied-- embodiments that we see. the south only lost the war because they were defeated by superior numbers and resources
in the united states. forget all of the disaster battles where confederate officers screwed up. superior numbers that is the reason for failure. southern women remained loyal to the cause. there is disillusionment. women writing toe their husbands, come home and the war is over. you will not see that emphasized in the southern text book. they did not give up their honor when they failed to win the war. just because you lose the war it doesn't -- you're still an honorable good solid gentleman and to prove that, we're going to give you the embodiments of robbed e. lee and stonewall jackson who will appear on all of these monuments. we're not going to celebrate those other confederate generals who didn't do quite well. you're going to see a lot of
accolades. oh, let's put john bill hood on great big confederate monuments. it will emphasize the honorable noble lee and jackson, who died in the war giving a limb for the cause and robert e. lee who was overwhelmed by superior number. it makes them in many ways larger than life. dominant figures that dominated post war period. this becomes the cause if you will. veteran props -- veteran troops like the united confederate veterans will be like the text books. they will get angry at their yankee publishers and want their side written when southern children learn about the war. they're going to blame not robert e. lee not stonewall
jackson but james longstreet. core commander at gettisburg throughout the war. it will be his fault that gettiesburg didn't turn out the way he wanted. it's like the ceo deciding that he's not going to resign bah blames the vice president and throws him under the bus. he was a republican and he actually got a position during the grant administration. he may not had been politically aligned with many individuals who were thinking about the lost cause. this becomes a struggle for historians going forward. lost cause doesn't have a lot of room for injured veterans. distraught widows or orphan children. when you have these obligations spring up, they were put in mission statement. they were all about raising money to take care of that
generation that had been destroyed by the war but then they would use all of that money then to go build a monument on a battlefield. to construct gigantic monument or battle to hire authors to write text books after the war. for others, these organizations because they're not representing their own personal tame and damage, they don't want to spend the money. they don't want to attend yearly reunions to have to relive these injuries. this is an important juxtaposition moment. we have an entire group of veterans who they don't feet the narrative. it's hard to argue around it in terms of if you wanting to knit pit particular element. you have to argue the exact opposite. it becomes a standard set of talking point as post war
history. this plus, state governments who -- make this transition for many injured and physically and emotionally injured confederate veterans a very difficult one. thank you all so much for your attention today and for participating. >> you're watching american history tv. all weekend every weekend on c-span 3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> it's argued it our current political parties are the most devicive in history. professors joe ann freeman who studies american politics and brian balough who specializes in the 20th century disagree. up next, they discuss the evolution of political parties and partnership from the founding eras to the 21st